Conference in Brussels to solve humanitarian crisis in Syria

Conference in Brussels to solve humanitarian crisis in Syria

Permanent State Secretary Matti Anttonen will represent Finland at the international conference on Syria in Brussels on 14 March. The objective of the ”Supporting the future of Syria and the region” conference, organised by the EU and the United Nations, is to support the UN-led political process and to agree about further measures to help those affected by the crisis.

“The only tenable way to solve the Syrian crisis is a UN-led political process to which the different parties to the conflict and, especially, the permanent members of the UN Security Council should commit themselves if we want to ensure that one day there will be peace. Finland supports the work of Geir Pedersen, the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, in his efforts to take the political process forward”, Permanent State Secretary Matti Anttonen says.

The conflict in Syria is one of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. The UN estimates that the number of people needing help within Syria is 11.7 million; some 5 million of them require acute care. The situation is particularly difficult in areas that are hard to reach, near on-going fighting and among those who have recently fled.

During the eight years that the conflict has been going on the various parties have been involved in numerous human rights violations and possibly crimes against humanity. Finland has supported the establishment of the UN accountability mechanism that aims at compiling evidence on crimes committed during the conflict and retaining them for possible future court proceedings. In cooperation with ten other countries, Finland will organise in Brussels a side event on the work against impunity. Finland is also prepared to continue the funding of the mechanism.

“It is important for Finland to promote the multilateral rules-based international system, which relies on the observance of the principles of rule of law and the respect of human rights. The international community is responsible for assisting in the investigation of the most serious international crimes.  The thousands of missing people and those who have lost their families deserve to get justice”, Permanent State Secretary Anttonen emphasises.

The conference is attended by not only the organisers, the EU and the UN, but also by major donors, representatives from Syria’s neighbouring countries, humanitarian organisations and development cooperation agencies. Syria’s civil society participates actively in the conference and the preceding consultations.

The Conference will also assess the international community's progress in fulfilling the commitments made a year ago. Finland has systematically shouldered its responsibility and contributed the pledged assistance: while the pledge for 2018 was EUR 25 million, assistance of about EUR 27 million was carried out. The goal for 2019 is to keep the financial support at the level of the pledge made in 2018.

In addition to Syria, Finland's support is channelled to its neighbouring countries Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt to support their resilience.  A total of about 5.3 million Syrian refugees live in these countries and providing education to refugee children and supporting women’s livelihoods are key examples of Finland’s support to the resilience of these countries. Humanitarian aid is directed, among others, to healthcare, food and other emergency relief materials, and protecting refugee.

Requests to interview the Secretary of State: Ilkka Nordberg, Adviser to the Secretary of State, tel.  +358 295 350 536
Claus Lindroos, Director, Unit for Humanitarian Assistance and Policy, tel. +358 40 132 1416
Finland’s other support to Syria, Matti Karvanen, Unit for the Middle East, tel. +358 50 361 1462.

The Foreign Ministry’s email addresses are in the format